We were so excited to spend the weekend exploring a part of Colorado we haven’t spent much time in before. Cory had Friday off and Monday was also off for July 4th so we had four days to enjoy Aspen.
We decided to camp in Twin Lakes outside of Leadville.
When we arrived it was raining, typical for summer in the Rockies.
We found a spot that had amazing views of the lakes but also had some dirt piles. At first I was unsure but it turned out to be the best spot because the kids loved playing in the piles!
After about an hour the rain cleared and we got to really enjoy our camp site.
We went to High Mountain Pies for dinner to have our favorite Crocodile Pizza.
On Saturday morning we set out to drive over Independence Pass to Vail. We stopped at the top which is the highest mountain pass in the US.
No surprise the views were amazing!
There are some trails to explore and a big parking lot so people can enjoy the sights.
We drove a bit further to The Grottos Trail Head.
It is a beautiful little trail and perfect for families.
On the trail you can explore some ice caves.
The ice caves were very cool to explore but not friendly for little kids. We made it in and back out but it took a lot of effort and some friendly strangers helping us out.
Cannon needed help the entire way and Emmy needed to be carried and the ice was slippery but it was worth it!
The rest of the hike was pretty as well, including a waterfall and views down into the ice caves.
After our hike we drove the rest of the way into Aspen where we walked through town up to the ski lifts.
Aspen is very dog friendly, Humphry was allowed on the gondolas and the city busses.
They view from the top is amazing.
We had lunch at the top of the mountain and enjoyed some kid friendly games and play structures.
After lunch we joined a guided nature hike, unfortunately Emmy was very tired (it was her nap time) and it started to rain a bit.
We rode the gondola back down to Aspen and saw a little more of town.
We drove back to our campsite and made dinner, then went down to the lake.
Very exhilarating to end the day with a dip in an alpine lake!
On Sunday we got to see some Big Horn Sheep on our way back over to Aspen!
This time we stopped at the Independence Township Ghost Town along the way to learn about the Gold Boom that was short lived.
It was fun to explore the buildings and think about the very resilient people that lived here back then.
We spent the rest of the morning visiting the John Denver Sanctuary.
It was so beautiful!
Then it was time for us to head to the Maroon Bells.
We took the (free) city bus up to Aspen Highlands where we caught our shuttle to the Maroon Bells.
You either need a parking permit for before 8 am or you need reservations on the shuttle to visit because it is so popular.
It’s breathtakingly beautiful!
We would have liked to hike further but it was just too hot for our French Bulldog, he doesn’t do well over 70 degrees.
We then took the busses back to town and walked to our car. We decided to stop at a trail head on the way back to explore and rock climb.
We got back to camp in time to grill some veggie burgers and enjoy the sunset.
Better than fireworks!
On Monday we packed up drove home knowing mountain traffic would be bad (it was). We really enjoy these weekends away and love this state we live in!
Where do you live and what do you love about it?